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Saturday, April 23, 2011

radioactive material is circling the world on jet streams in the stratosphere

The radioactive material is circling the world on jet streams in the stratosphere, which extends about 30 miles above the earth’s surface, and it can be dragged back down to earth by storms, especially after becoming attached to dust or other heavier materials. In response to the elevated levels of the material in rainwater, the EPA and U.S. Food and Drug Administration say they are increasing monitoring for the material in drinking water and dairy products. The material accumulates in milk after being ingested by cows. The Dairy Council of California referred questions to the federal government. “Our testing is in very preliminary stages and isn’t complete yet,” FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said in an email. “Test results that we have received from states have not indicated any uptick or hazards.” Hirsh criticized the federal government for taking several weeks to determine iodine-131 levels in rainwater, drinking water and milk on the West Coast. “Instead we get assurances before we get data, and the data takes weeks — if it comes out at all,” Hirsh said. Jet streams carry material from Japan to the West Coast; the Japanese government used them to carry bombs attached to balloons to the U.S. during World War II. If drinking water and dairy testing had been conducted earlier, and if the results had showed dangerous levels of iodine-131, residents would have known to take potassium iodide pills and stop drinking milk, Hirsh said. Dairy farmers would have known to switch to stored grain as a feedstock instead of allowing their cattle to graze on contaminated grass. As the nuclear crisis unfolded in Japan, U.S. health officials urged the public not to take potassium iodide. Spokesmen for the East Bay Municipal Utility District and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which provide much of the drinking water in the Bay Area, said Tuesday that they had not been advised by the federal or state governments to conduct testing for iodine-131 in their reservoirs. EPA air monitoring stations, meanwhile, continue to detect radioactive material that has blown across the Pacific from Japan. “There is no health concern from the radiation readings” detected by air monitors, Bandrowski said. Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/12bQI

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